On Sunday the New York Jets beat up the Kansas City Chiefs 37-10 at MetLife Stadium. The victory, which moved the Jets record to 8-5, came with an expense as safety Jim Leonhard is reportedly out for the season with a leg injury. Lets take a look at some of the keys to the Jets victory.
“Ground and Pound” continues- The New York Jets offense continued to play their physical style of football rushing for 159 yards. The offensive line did an excellent job winning the battles in the trenches while running backs Shonn Greene (129 yards) and LaDainian Tomlinson repeatedly broke arm tackles while gaining several yards after contact. Gang Green is a very tough team to beat when they run the ball like this.
Sanchez sharp- Quarterback Mark Sanchez (13/21 181 yards 2 passing tds, 2 rushing tds) was sharp on Sunday effectively moving the Jets offense up and down the field. Sanchez displayed very good footwork in the pocket while spreading the ball around to 6 different receivers. The one interesting change in Sanchez is his demeanor. Mark was usually a pretty emotional player after Jets touchdowns, “flying” around with his receivers, and now he just shakes hands and walks off. I am hoping that Sanchez is still having fun on the field and not becoming a robot due to the scrutiny from the media and fans.
Wayne Hunter struggles- Offensive lineman Wayne Hunter struggled a bit on Sunday allowing Justin Houston to get a couple of big hits on Mark Sanchez. Hunter must continue to improve as it is only a matter of time before these clean hits will knock his quarterback out of the game.
Dominate performance- In the first half of the game the Jets defense held the Chiefs to 4 total yards and -15 yards passing. Cannot get more dominate than that. The unit registered 5 sacks and held the run oriented Chiefs offense to 65 yards for the game.
Leonhard lost for the year-According to several reports safety Jim Leonhard will be lost for the remainder of the year due to a leg injury. This is a huge blow to the Jets defense as Leonhard is not only a emotional leader, but he is also responsible for making defensive calls on the field. The Jets were in the same situation last year with Leonhard and will look to Brodney Pool to take on a bigger role. After Pool the Jets do not have much depth as Tracy Wilson is the only other safety on the roster. I would not be surprised to see Gang Green sign someone this week.
This exactly the type of performance you want to see from the Jets against an inferior team. Gang Green came out physical and took control of the game early on, giving the Chiefs next to no hope of winning (28-3 at halftime). The Jets victory combined with losses from several other teams now has Gang Green as the #6 seed in the AFC. If the Jets win out, they are making the playoffs as a wildcard team.